When I heard from the Associated Press that the World Health Organization just released this statement announcing that cell phones may indeed be carcinogenic, I felt my breath catch in my throat as I put my cell phone down.
As I wrote in this post, cancer has been plaguing way too many friends and family members lately. The rise in the cancer rate seems out of proportion, and so many people I know have been asking, “Why is this happening?” I shake my head – pesticides, maybe? Chemicals in our water? Plastic? Hormones in our milk? Radiation from the air and medical tests?
Nobody knows for sure, but my mother swears that she never had three friends simultaneously battling late stage cancer in their forties when she was my age.
So what’s the deal with cell phones?
Well, rumors have been spreading that things like microwaves and cell phones may cause cancer for years now. But proof has been slow to trickle in. Last year, a big study failed to establish a link between cell phones and cancer, but it hinted towards a possible connection between very heavy cell phone use and glioma, a rare but often deadly form of brain tumor. The study wasn’t big enough to confirm such a link, however.
In about 30 other studies, patients with brain tumors did not report using their cell phones more than those without brain tumors.
Last May, the National Cancer Institute released this statement, which concluded that “Research studies have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancer.” But today, the WHO concluded, after reviewing dozens of published studies and meeting in Lyon, France for a week of discussion with experts, that cell phones may be carcinogenic.